Ben Klock Ben KlockBerghain 04
The passing of time has created a stereotype of the club Berghain that, in a sense, is convenient for its managers, but which doesn’t really reflect the reality. The stereotype is that as soon as you walk in, the sound grabs you around the neck and strangles you, while you are surrounded by a herd of tense, sweaty, muscle-bound men agitated by the violence of the techno music. And it’s true that there are men in Berghain with biceps like watermelons, and that the sound is so fucking strong that it could burst your skull open with its wavelengths, but it isn’t always that way. The Berlin club opens for many hours, and various DJ’s pass through its booth, with the music taking on different colours –it is chameleonic– according to the light of the day, or the energy of the night, whether it is opening, closing, or at its peak moment. And while we have the image of the techno night as a crescendo that gathers momentum, finally bursting into an explosive climax, Ben Klock considers that his contribution to the “Berghain” series –the best selection of techno sets these days– should head in the opposite direction: it quickly finds the rush hour, the fierceness, but then starting in the middle, it begins to gently drop, like when there is a change of public, a curfew, or a need to relax the intensity. A DJ is not only about how to destroy his followers’ feet, but also how to calm them and start them up again. Ergo, Ben Klock.
In this, its best section, “Berghain 04” is a manual of new sound depth on the eternal Detroit-Berlin axis, the techno alliance that has been unbroken since the days of Tresor. The job of selection has its own merit, because even though everything sounds familiar (and above all, very “Berghain”), the proportions between minimalism, classicism, dub nuance, hard inclination, and ambiental decorations with pads copied from the best techno-soul are very well chosen, so that the elements are mixed without the balance tipping towards any specific sub-style. And therefore, it is the name of the DJ that shines above the working material; this isn’t exceptional, but when it happens, it warrants the corresponding applause. Klock’s quality as a mixer isn’t being called into question, nor as a selector, or as producer of his own material, but here you can see a special effort that affects the final result. The track list abounds with “previously unreleased ” pieces –showing us that Klock has been working ahead, selecting promos and advances so that the session doesn’t get to the shops as a cadaver, with the material already within everyone’s reach– and the already-classic “exclusives ” of the Berghain series, which are the ones later put out on vinyl and sold separately to DJ’s hungry for diffuse darkness and techno with a serious sneer.
And very important: the final result is above and beyond the particulars. It doesn’t matter exactly what is playing, because it has all been worked on like a single linear course, with ups and down, without a single moment standing out above the rest: it is the whole that stands out; although there is no climax, “Berghain 04” is a suspense-filled trip from beginning to end that obliges you to pay attention all the way through, even knowing that there will be no cliff-hanger. That is when you can start to scrutinise the track list, and the glitter of diamond appears. Particular choices: “Apricot”, by 154 (always very in favour of ambiental intros, a minute and a half of preparation without rushing, and more if they are put out by the man also known as Newworldaquarium ); Marcel Dettmann’s exclusive remix of “Work” by Junior Boys, who shows his emo side; the two incursions of the new underground sensation of Detroit, DVS1; the use of James Ruskin’s monotraxx as a rhythmic transition, not as a rock thrown to make an impression on the clubber, like James Holden also does (here an released “Graphic” appears); Tyree’s jackin’ house interlude ( “Nuthing Wrong”); and the conclusion, now with the ambiental pads full on, of a Rolando closer to Convextion than to his own epic, arpeggio sound ( “Junie” is also unreleased). This is a mix that starts out good and ends better, without anything missing or anything extra along the way. It deserves all of our respect. .